shoepilestocksmWith the fall comes a lot of nonprofit fundraising events to promote. One of the best ones I’ve seen recently was with the Whitesboro Music Boosters out of Marcy, New York. Their coordinator, Robin Wynn, was searching out fundraising ideas and decided to do a shoe drive fundraiser.

Throughout the year, Whitesboro Music Boosters does a number of fundraisers to promote music in their school district. The money they raise helps the schools to defray the costs of cast parties, uniforms, and travel. For this particular fundraiser, they were raising money for a new program to provide students with private lessons during holidays when the schools are not in session.

The students, parents and the Whitesboro community collected 5,730 pairs of shoes. No one was asked to donate money. All they had to do was ask people for gently worn, used and new shoes. Those thousands of shoes went into 230 bags and Whitesboro was paid by Funds2Orgs based on the total weight of the shoes.

I think that Robin’s experience is one that is awesome to share with others – no matter what type of fundraiser you’re doing for your school, nonprofit, church or group. The fact of the matter is that most charitable organizations don’t raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in any given fundraiser. In fact, most organizations tend to be small and their fundraisers raise a few thousand here and another couple of thousand there.

My team and I thought Robin and Whitesboro were so great to work with that we decided to interview Robin on our Facebook page. Robin was interviewed by our social media star, Joe, who started off by asking her why she decided to do a shoe drive.

She replied, “We have done a ton of fundraisers and people have gotten fundraising burn out…You can see it when we say, ‘We’re raising money for.’ We can see it in their eyes…What I really liked about this is we didn’t ask anybody for money. We asked them for things they have and they don’t know what to do with anyway.”

Joe then asked Robin about the success of the Whitesboro Music Booster fundraising event.

  1. The booster group has a solid Facebook presence. So, it was only natural for them to use Facebook to help promote their shoe drive. They asked people to support their efforts, contribute and they provided updates. With Facebook as the top social media platform, they leveraged it and Robin said it was one of the key factors in their success.
  1. They went around their community and asked businesses to get involved. A lot of organizations do this, but with a shoe drive fundraiser, it’s unique because businesses do not have to contribute any money. No one does. The Whitesboro Music Boosters asked local businesses to place banners and posters on their windows. Most were pleased to do something so simple for a good cause and for their community.
  1. Robin and her team got a local radio station involved. The DJ was awesome and created an event where people were asked to drive by a particular location and throw shoes at a tarp target as they drove by. In the process, the drivers had a chance to win cool prizes. This was a cool way to get people who might not have otherwise been involved with the music boosters to give their shoes (and raise money).
  1. The schools in the district got involved. For example, the elementary school classes challenged each other to see which classes could collect the most shoes. The winners received a popsicle party. The middle school kids were challenged by the principal to collect at least 700 pairs of shoes. By doing so, they were given a “Crazy Hat Day”, which the kids liked because it was an opportunity to wear hats to schools. By the way, the kids collected 1,200 of shoes and got to wear their hats. And, the high school students helped collect shoes in the community.
  1. When Joe asked Robin about her one piece of fundraising advice, she said, “Talk to everybody.” Robin describes herself as an introvert, but she talked to everyone about the shoe drive fundraiser – at the hair salon and even at the bank.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Dominate in Your School Fundraising for Success, As Easy as ABC” (Free Digital Download)

© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.